Keeping an eye on what’s right in front of me

I signed up for the Bruny Island trail run  about six weeks ago because I felt like I needed a goal. I was getting a bit antsy and I know that self-medicating my listlessness with an athletic challenge is a good cure. That’s how I am. When I am in a funk, a goal helps keep my focus on what’s more immediate because a training plan requires daily check-ins to make sure I’m still on target. I like setting my sights on something that requires discipline and since I have never run 17.5 kilometers before, that sounded like an appropriate distance to work towards. Plus I figured that our current access to a plethora of mountain trails just minutes from our door was something I ought to take advantage of.

The only problem is that I don’t actually like running. It’s hard and boring and uncomfortable. But trail running is a different story and it wasn’t until I started training for this run did I change my tune about going out for a morning jog. With a road run I typically leave my house with an estimate of how long I’ll run for and the majority of my thoughts while running are consumed by a mental countdown until it’s all over. But trail running demands focus on what’s right in front of me. If I misstep, I’ll roll my ankle. If I lose concentration, I’ll get lost. And when I stop to catch my breath, I am rewarded with stunning Tasmanian beauty. It’s more work, for sure, but so much more satisfying!

I set out on Sunday morning with minimal expectations about a time or pace. That’s not what this was about. My longest run to date was about an hour and a half. If I could keep a steady, consistent pace for 17.5K (which would surely take me longer than 1.5 hours) I would be happy. And I did! Two hours and ten minutes feeling strong. The trail was very technical and indeed if I let me mind wander towards our plans for Hawaii next month or what I’m going to do for work back in the US, I stumbled. The run was a test and a necessary reminder: keep my eyes on what’s right in front of me and I’ll fly through it with a smile.

Game Face.

Game Face.

Carlos hid along the race trail to cheer and caught me smiling.

Carlos hid along the race trail to cheer and caught me smiling.

The view from the trail. No big deal.

The view from the trail. No big deal.

So it was Two hours and ten minutes of running minus a couple of photos stops. I'm not THAT hard core.

So it was two hours and ten minutes of running minus a couple of photos stops. I’m not THAT hard core.

 

Finish line through high tide waters = wet shoes.

Finish line sprint through high tide waters = wet shoes.

The finish line beer is really what this goal setting thing is all about.

The finish line beer is really what this goal setting thing is all about.

 

 

 

 

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